Does your citation need a publisher?
Not all citations require the publisher element. Skip the publisher slot if:
- The source is a periodical. Include the periodical title as a container title.
- The publisher's name is the same as the author or container.
- There is no publisher.
A note on hanging indents
MLA style requires "hanging indents" for works cited entries: the second and subsequent lines of each entry are indented 5 spaces past the first line.
Examples in this guide do not show the hanging indent, because of the way that the guide displays across different screen sizes. See the tab "hanging indents" for more information on hanging indents and how to create them.
In addition, example citations in this guide are shown in bold. This formatting is used to help separate them from explanatory text. Do not use bold type for the citations on your real works cited page.
The publisher element is for identifying the organization primarily responsible for making the source available to the public. Your source may or may not have a publisher that you need to list.
Books nearly always have publishers. Find this information on the title page or copyright page.
Coplin, Bill. 10 Things Employers Want You to Learn in College: The Skills You Need to Succeed. Revised, Ten Speed Press, 2012.
Sometimes, a book will be both authored and published by the same organization. If that happens, you don’t have to put the name twice twice: just start the entry with the source title, and put the publisher in the publisher spot:
MLA Handbook. 8th ed., Modern Language Association, 2016.
If a human (rather than corporate) author publishes their own book, put their name in the author spot and omit the “publisher” element.
For movies and TV series, put the name of the studio or production company:
Scarpone, Janet. Fun Communication Exercises. Insight Media, 2002.
Websites are where it gets tricky. If the website is produced by an organization, and the name of that organization is not already included in the citation (for instance, as an author or a container title), put that name as a publisher. Examples of organizations include colleges, libraries, museums, government agencies, and nonprofit organizations.
In the following example, “The Purdue OWL” is the container title, and “Purdue U Writing Lab” is the publisher:
Russell, Tony, et al. "MLA Formatting and Style Guide." The Purdue OWL. Purdue U Writing Lab, 2 Aug. 2016, owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/747/01/.
In the next example, the publisher is MLA, but since that organization is already named in the container title, it isn’t necessary to repeat it in the publisher spot:
Gibson, Angela. “URLs: Some Practical Advice.” MLA Style Center, 2 Nov. 2016, style.mla.org/2016/11/02/urls-some-practical-advice/.
Do not list as publisher a company that simply hosts content for users, but is not involved in producing or approving that content. For instance, Facebook and YouTube are not publishers. However, these entities may be included in the citation as containers, if including the information would help readers locate or evaluate the source. In the following example, Twitter is listed as a container, not a publisher:
@LehighCarbonCC. “#LCCC Announces Spring 2017 Dean’s List.” Twitter, 29 June 2017, https://twitter.com/LehighCarbonCC/status/880517153086218241.
The main difference between a container title and a publisher is that a container title is usually italicized (or, in rare cases, in quotation marks) as described under “Formatting Titles.”
Periodical citations do not include a publisher element.
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